Choate will begin working with Senior Services Director Pamela Breeden and Allen Kronenberger from the county’s Property Management department to come up with a basic design for the senior center.
A price tag for the total project along with a rendering will be brought before the commissioners at their June 28 meeting.
The original center, located at Legion Park in Austell, was flooded twice in four years, including during the September 2009 floods. Since February 2010, the senior center has operated out of a renovated house on Brownsville Road in Powder Springs.
The center serves a hot lunch along with offering activities for seniors, but it is not considered an adult day care facility, which provides more specialized care.
The new facility will be built in Clarkdale Park at 4905 Austell Powder Springs Road near Sweetwater Valley Library on land donated to the county by CSX.
“This part of the park does not flood,” Breeden said. “The new facility will provide us with the space we need for growth.”
The new facility is expected to be 5,000 square feet, with parking and various spaces for senior activities.
In February, commissioners approved $1.6 million originally slated for expanding the senior services center located in a former Ingles on Powder Springs Street to help rebuild the Austell center.
Breeden and county officials learned earlier this year federal funds set aside for the Powder Springs Street location could not be used for expansion because the build-out would have been in Dobbins Air Reserve Base’s Accident Potential Zone.
Commissioner Woody Thompson, whose district includes the center, said the area has a high demand for senior services and that he was excited about the new facility.
“Mableton is one of the first developed areas of the county, so there is a great need for it,” he said, adding that senior services is also having to pay to transport seniors from the Austell area to Powder Springs.
As to the question of a $31 million budget shortfall causing the county to cut budgets, which included closing two senior facilities, Thompson said the county probably wouldn’t be building a new center if the federal funds were not available.
Also at the meeting, commissioners approved the master plan for the new citizen-organized Mabry Park located in northeast Cobb off Wesley Chapel and Sandy Plains roads, next to the Mabry International Farm.
The master plan, which was paid for by the Friends of Mabry Park and completed by San Francisco-based design firm URS, includes centralized parking, a community garden, three walking trails and a pond.
“This will be the newest and only passive park in District 3,” Commissioner JoAnn Birrell said. “The Friends of Mabry Park organization; Eddie Canon, the director of parks and recreation; and the design engineers of URS have spent a tremendous amount of time and work on this project. None of this would have been possible without the input that we received from the community during the public meetings. “
The Friends group will begin raising money to pay for the actual construction. The group does not yet know how much money will be required to build the park as reflected in the master plan, but president Mark Jernigan said he estimates the amount would be $3 million to $4 million.
At its work session Tuesday afternoon, commissioners heard an update on the county’s street light district program from transportation officials.
After an internal audit last year found the county was depositing streetlight fees from residents into the general fund, a street light district fund was created to collect those fees.
However, Transportation Director Faye DiMassimo said the department would be requesting $400,000 of next year’s general fund budget to pay for non-neighborhood streetlights used for roadway and pedestrian safety.
About 10 percent of the county’s streetlights fall into the category of “non-district.”
Streetlights that do fall into districts are paid for by residents of neighborhoods and subdivisions with the lights.
In addition to creating separate funds, the audit also recommended the county create a database of streetlights.
Since December, county officials have begun converting paper maps of street light positions dating back to the 1970s to digital format. With the system, the county can keep track of the street light districts including what power companies are responsible for them.
DiMassimo also said because of the large scope of the street light district program, her office is requesting to be able to use one of its previously unfunded and vacant positions to hire an accounting specialist.